BMW 650i M SPORT GRAN COUPE: catching the eye

BMW’S first foray into the four door coupe market has certainly caught the eye – I almost had to take my shoes and socks off to count the number of positive comments it sparked.

And if it’s power you crave, then you ‘ve no need to look much further. The range is topped by a new 450hp twin turbo V8 that should satisfy the most ardent petrolhead.

You can’t overlook its credentials – 0-62 in an exceedingly swift 4.6 seconds, a top speed they’ve limited to 155mph, yet they say it has the ability to eke out the fuel to 31.7mpg on the combined figure. I’m afraid I didn’t check – I just kept putting fuel in so I could enjoy what this pinnacle of the range had to offer.

And as an elegant and sporty grand tourer, it offers quite a bit.

The stretched wheelbase gives a superb amount of nappa leather lined cabin space which is as easy to get and out of as any executive saloon.

But it’s very definitely a coupe – the long bonnet and sweeping roofline see to that. There’s the familiar BMW shark nose with its double kidney grille, and the wide stance of the car is accentuated by the flared arches front and rear.

The interior is very driver orientated. The gear selector (which takes time to master), the electronic handbrake and iDrive controller sit in a centre console that runs through to the rear, but there’s still room to get an extra passenger in the middle between the two rear sports seats if required.

There’s a big centrally located 10.2 inch high res display for the sat nav, rear view camera and other info – a bit like your own in-car wide screen TV –  and other kit on the M Sport model includes 19 inch alloys, black brake calipers, sports seats as well as a bit of BMW M aerodynamic body styling.

Options fitted on this car (in a total of £17,655 worth!) included soft close doors, four zone automatic aircon  (front and rear), an electric glass sunroof to make the cabin even airier, and a heads up display, right in your line of slight and small enough to be both readable and discreet.

For a big car it’s remarkably light and agile, thanks to the extensive use of aluminium and the employment of BMW’s EfficientDynamics technologies which includes Auto Start Stop – something that feels kind of out of place in a beast of a car like this, but which nevertheless assists with lower fuel consumption and emissions.

The powerhouse V8 drives through an eight speed automatic transmission – something that’s been built to major on sporty driving and optimum efficiency. It’s so smooth you can’t feel it change, the only hint being a slight audible change to the parts thrashing away under the bonnet and a different note from the huge letterbox exhaust pipes that dominate the rear view of the car.

And lifting that vast bonnet is an eye-opener – the huge engine is so neatly shoehorned in you’d have a job getting your AmEx card down the side.

Adaptive Drive is a £3,400 option, but when you’re spending the wrong side of 75k in the first place, you’re not going to worry about that. It lets you pick the set up of the car, with Variable Damper Control and Dynamic Drive active anti roll stability management. And its unique and innovative new damper system adjusts to the road surface and the driving style of the nut behind the wheel.

Side roll is reduced in bends and it all helps keep the big Beemer on an even keel whatever you’re negotiating.

One downside worth noting is that the wing mirrors have a habit, a bad habit, of getting very dirty at their outside edges in rough weather. Probably not a problem in other parts of the world where this is sold, but it certainly is in the UK.

If you want to do a lot of miles in the car then the 640d is probably your better bet. With a 70 litre tank and 50.4mpg available from the 3.0 litre six cylinder unit, its range is about 800 miles, and CO2 is just 148g/km (£130 a year road tax).

But if it’s outright thrills you’re after, then the 640i M Sport – expected to account for 80 per cent of all 6 Series Gran Coupe sales – is your kiddie. And it’ll leave you grinning like one.

AT A GLANCE: BMW 650i M Sport Gran Coupe; £75,375; 4.4 litre direct injection V8, 450hp, 650Nm; eight speed automatic gearbox; Top speed 155mph (limited), 0-62mph 4.6 secs; Fuel – 31.7 combined. CO2 206g/km.

© wheelwrite 2013 

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